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    July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2005

    "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts" ~ George Orwell

    "An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible." ~ Unknown

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    Saturday, July 31, 2004

    Who are the people in your neighborhood?

    How y'all are tonight?

    Ahhh, apartment dwellin'. Don't let me forget the rent is due.

    I try not to interact with my neighbors very much. I am an amiable enough misanthrope, of course. I nod and smile; I'll give you a push when your car is stuck in the parking lot after a winter storm. But then I'll keep moving. Because chances are this person I am smiling at is someone I cursed only last night or this morning. Chances are I have prayed to a god I don't believe in for your miserable death by means only a deity could arrange. The dings in my car door were what damned you all. The noise you make coming down the stairs only bolsters my case. Something tells me it wasn't the fucking and the sinning that brought Sodom and Gomorrah down. It was the god damned noise at 8 o'clock on Sunday morning.

    I am sometimes given to naivete or temporary insanity though, in special circumstances. I get to know someone's name. I indulge their need for human contact, or else I indulge my own weakness for it. I always regret it. I have lived in this complex long enough to outlast the worst of my mistakes. I list them here, with their status:

    • The Dog Stalker -- moved out two weeks ago and I hope never to see her again. I don't have the space here to relate the story of how I came to avoid her at all costs, to the point of not using the short way to my car. We had a tacit, nonspoken truce of sorts. In fact this had worked so well that when she acquired a constantly yapping dog that shrilly reminded everyone within earshot that wind was blowing (right outside my window at 5am-5:30, and then again from afternoon until night) I knew there was nothing to do but take it. I was unable to even imagine a scenario of alerting her to my inconvenience that didn't involve imitating the bark as close to her ear as I could lunge.

    • Muotombo from Senegal-- moved out a couple weeks ago too. Just gone one day. He did nothing to me and I wish him well but I am glad I don't have to try and figure out what he is saying anymore. The special circumstances that led to my stopping and chatting here were White Man's guilt and being incredibly stoned. He was often cobbling together pieces of his '82 tercel with bungee cord out in the parking lot and therefore I frequently had to brush him off with friendliness while getting Rufus to stop trying to play with him. He finally learned his lesson after bumming a cigarette from me and discovering that we are truly from different worlds. The CIA World Factbook tells us that Senegal is a former French colony that is slightly smaller than South Dakota. There is a 94% chance he is muslim. His country doesn't look to be the worst place in Africa to be from, but according to him he gave up a civil engineer job there for doing unskilled manufacturing work here for 6 bones an hour. I stood there and talked to him until he brushed me off. Oh well, another border agreement signed. He studiously ignored me after that. Most of the stupid American impression he got of me was, as I said, due to the language barrier.

    • CarWash Homie-- still here, but he has to be treading on thin ice. His third story deck is filled with howling dogs (a beagle, a chow and a young pitbull) and his kid is constantly out with his pitbull, kicking balls at parked cars. I like CarWash Homie ok, he knows "hey whats up" is all the farther we need to know each other unless the place is on fire. His kid seems ok too, other than the fact that he is a kid with a ball and a pitbull. My buddy Eric was by one day and it turns out they work together. Eric fixes the cars, Car Wash Homie cleans them. If I had not known this, he wouldn't be on the list. As it is, I am vulnerable to social interaction. I hope they get kicked out.
    Well, so far it seems like life is getting better the longer I live here. But I still don't know who it is playing loud shitty music at 8am on Sundays. The dog stalker's apartment was filled last weekend by heavyset young punks wearing tree trunk highwater jeans. At least the bass I hear might improve. THoooomm thoom TOOOOOOOOM (repeat to infinity or insanity).

    posted by M@ at 3:27 PM   7 comments links to this post


    democracy in action

    hahahaha. oh, how i laughed.

    posted by kimberley at 2:00 PM   1 comments links to this post


    Friday, July 30, 2004

    Convention blogs show limited appeal

    Convention blogs show limited appeal

    I have to say John Dvorak makes a good point about where the strength of blogging lies in terms of its place in the media. I have not read too many of the famed convention blogs yet myself so I won't say if he is correct about its weakness as well.

    posted by M@ at 2:13 AM   1 comments links to this post


    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    All just a little bit of history repeating

    This is an interesting tidbit of history from the Lincoln Years. I have taken out the entire chunk of the article I am talking about, and reproduced it here. The link to the whole story is at the bottom, but I really only wanted to point out how similar the situation was back then in terms of election rhetoric and campaigning. Check it out:

    Another convention, another Democratic-party peace platform.

    In August 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, the Democratic party adopted a platform that attacked the Republican incumbent for:

    four years of failure to restore the union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of military necessity or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired.

    In other words, the war was a mistake. Our constitutional rights have suffered, and it costs too much. We should have tried diplomacy.

    The party nominated a popular war hero to reassure voters. Public opinion seemed heavily antiwar, and Democratic prospects looked bright.

    All this led Lincoln to reflect, gloomily,

    It seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the president elect, as to save the union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards

    Hans Moleman

    Too often we act like we are forging new ground and that the past is too distant to mean anything to the present. But there it is right there: the Civil War produced a startlingly similar campaign against Lincoln's re-election as a Republican. Take what you want from it, I was merely struck by how easy the parallel is drawn to today.

    posted by M@ at 5:22 PM   0 comments links to this post


    Local News

    Oh look, NASA completely denies the Kerry Campaign was caught by surprise by the "ET killer suit" pictures, and sort of shreds the idea that they were "leaked". It must have just *sounded* better when it was an evil, dirty trick. But no, now the story goes on and Kerry looks even worse than he does in clean room scrubs.
    Local News

    "Furthermore, NASA spokesman Bill Johnson said the Kerry campaign asked that the pictures be taken of the senator's unusually up-close tour of the Discovery and that processing be expedited so reporters could have them"

    posted by M@ at 2:21 PM   0 comments links to this post


    this land

    yes, i've seen it. and i've seen it linked to from many and many a site. and i think it's just a bloody awful crying shame that we live in such a litigious-happy society and people just can't unclench and relax a little.

    "When was the last time you saw John Kerry on his knees before world leaders, clad in S&M gear and with a ball gag in his mouth? Or eyed President Bush looking sheepish in a red dunce cap?"

    if you click on this link you can see it for free. if you click on this link you can see how you might run the risk of being sued for seeing it for free.

    posted by kimberley at 1:13 PM   0 comments links to this post


    the right to bear ben wa

    you have *got* to be kidding me! i can assure you of one thing, sugarbabies: on my big list of dream relocation spots, Alabama is nowhere to be seen.

    posted by kimberley at 11:28 AM   1 comments links to this post


    The 21st century: The Age of Simulation

    I happened to stumble knee deep into the world of the Sims last night. I searched high and low for a downloadable symbol of mortality, of all things. I finally found the one downloadable tombstone in 20 sites or more of all things Sims. The vicarious detail out there blew my mind! Of course, I did *not* find the giant stash that I was trying, in typical man fashion, to beat Kim to. She won though, as usual. More Sims tombstones than you have co-workers here at Ophelia's little site-a-ma-jiggie

    Maybe it will be easier for the next guy now.

    I was at Wal-mart earlier tonight while helping my buddy Eric move back in town. The 24 hour Wal-mart. A weird place to go at 1:00am or so. An interesting shrine to the free market outside at the vending machines. The America's Choice Knock -off "simulation" brand ran 25c. Yeah! Must be terrible, I thought. I'd rather pay the extra dollar and a half for the real Dr. Pepper, right? I'm a Pepper. I buy inta that whoooole thing. (I still reserve the right to scoff at advertising but i was imprinted with Dr.Pepper=wholesome and comforting at a young age) But look! The free market had forced Big Evil Cola, the suited bastards, to go to...*40c* a can! While everywhere else you're paying at least 60 cents at a vending machine, the bottom falls out of the market in a price war. So how much is Wal-mart losing to make Pepsi and Coke look bad in front of their store I wonder? I know it's only pennies but I was ready to pay the exhorbitant fee that they expect out of a thoroughly parched idiot with a pocket full of change in most places right? It made me smile, because it's a beautiful thing.

    I can't stop thinking. And so I type and surf. I came across the Word Detective last night. I venture that you've shown me this before, Kim. But I rediscovered it and found it worth repeating. I nominate it for linkage on the side but consider this a one post feature. Lots of interesting stuff there, hey! wow!

    This picture from Rambling's Journal has the funniest caption I've seen along with it so far. I don't think it makes it to the Dukakis level of campaign gaffes that Republicans want it to be but it doesn't take a genius to know that there's a photoshop contest going on as we speak. At least it didn't exist when the JibJab kids were making their video.

    posted by M@ at 2:52 AM   0 comments links to this post


    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    I'll watch till my head explodes but I won't talk

    Well said K :) and that picture says it all...

    so I'm watching the "big night" of the convention live on c-span on the net. the link is below

    C-SPAN: Watch LIVE

    I am mostly disgusted and dismayed by every little bit of this so I am really going to try and keep my comments about it to as close to zero as possible.

    UPDATE: I just watched Edwards' wife and she insulted Wendy's. I just happened to be raising a #1 with cheese to my lips as she said it.

    posted by M@ at 7:19 PM   0 comments links to this post


    not suitable for impressionable audiences

    i actually saw a few minutes of this "dnc" that m@ speaks of. and while he may not be talking about it, i'm certainly willing.

    first of all, the thing that struck me right off the bat is that there was some free flowing prozac in that room. i mean, they didn't just take their morning dose. they brushed with it. they added an extra capsule or two to their morning coffee, afternoon tea, and dinner cocktails. i think a few of them actually injected prozac granules straight into their eyeballs. my first thought was that i had stumbled onto a botox convention by mistake. but then someone who sounded on the verge of hysteria started shouting something about taking back america and that theory went right out the window. not to say that i think there was a dearth of botox in the room, but i digress.

    keep in mind, this has nothing to do with political affiliation. i'm disgusted with all of them. i think both parties are equally capable of fucking up the country. i was just watching that...that...display and it reached something in me. it wasn't my sense of patriotism. it wasn't my desire to kick my civic duty into high gear. and it certainly wasn't a mind-bending, orgasmic state of arousal wherein i would whip my head back and forth while pinching my nipples and screaming, "oh yes! YES! DEMS in 2004! Yesss! Taaake BAcK AmeRiCa OBAMA! YES! EDWARDS! YES! KERRRRRY OMYGODYESSSSS!" as some of those ladies seemed on the verge of doing. no. what it reached in me--what it awakened and kindled in the deepest, darkest part of me--was my healthy sense of self preservation, otherwise known as: FEAR. i was scared to death. my eyes were bugging out, i couldn't swallow, and i was breathing rapidly. i just kept thinking, "my god, these people. they're so...excited. and happy. and optimistic and seemingly oblivious to how fucked up this country really is."

    i sat there glued to the television set and as the screaming, wailing, smiling throngs of shiny happy people pushed closer and closer together and the excitement reached a fever pitch of prozac and valium-induced brotherly love while hands of every color of the rainbow were clasped and upraised in a common bond of dedication and unification and a few other "tions" for good measure, it occurred to me that i would be terrified for my life if i were in that crowd. i would be afraid they would turn on me and converge upon my body and feed like the vampires or zombies in so many hollywood "b" movies. i was watching, and as the camera panned, i could actually see blood dripping out of the corner of hillary clinton's mouth as she stood smiling a ghastly smile and held sway over the lower level undead below.

    i can't say for sure what aroused this fear in me. perhaps i was sure they would notice that i couldn't smile quite that big. perhaps they would see through whatever smile i could muster and realize that i was one of the doubters; the great unwashed who believes this country is going to hell in a designer handbasket and the DNC or the RNC or QVC or KFC or whatever initials you want to throw at it probably won't be able to make a whole lot of difference in the long run. i had a certainty that they could smell that on a person; like some cheap dimestore knockoff of the real thing they would catch a whiff of my forced optimism and then turn on me to begin the feeding. whatever it was, it was at that point i flipped the power to the t.v. off, thereby breaking their momentary hold over me and returning me to my senses. such as they are. i don't think i should watch anymore coverage. and if i do, i definitely don't think i should watch it alone. and if i am, i definitely hope the call doesn't come in the middle of the night. the one in which a really happy and cheerful sounding young intern bubbling with optimism announces to me through a crackling phoneline, "the DNC...it's coming from...INSSSSSIDE THE HOUSE!!"

    posted by kimberley at 3:49 PM   2 comments links to this post


    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Fascism! you'll never guess where!

    Welp. Looks like free speech is just a dream. Even the
    party of tolerance" will crush tiny dogs under their jack-boots if they don't like the message...

    posted by M@ at 7:08 PM   2 comments links to this post


    admit it, you hate america too!

    what to think...what to think...i just wish they'd tell me what to think!

    is she echoing voltaire? i think things are getting a little out of hand here. i mean, there are plenty of other reasons to throw ronstadt out. but this isn't a good one.

    and you say?

    posted by kimberley at 5:33 PM   3 comments links to this post


    Monday, July 26, 2004

    I can juggle, yeah. just not hot coffee.

    I will not blog about the DNC I will not blog about the DNC I will not blog about the DNC I will not blog about the DNC I will not blog about the DNC

    Other people are doing that, <--- so you don't think I am suppressing information.

    I think I want to see that movie Collateral when it comes out. With Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise? I may have mentioned that already but the trailer did its job. I don't exactly know the premise but something to do with explosions and guns and saying witty things in desperate situations. so. I really expect to be disappointed but I also want a shallow fiction with which to numb my brain. That said, I *don't* want to see the Manchurian Candidate. And I don't want you to see it either, so I am not linking to it. Ha.

    Funny storyhere about my ex-browser IE. I happened to have jumped on the Firefox bandwagon just before the last gaping hole in IE security was exposed but honestly its just a better way of browsing. Open source kicks ass. I haven't regretted switching yet.

    I had so much more to say but it has escaped me here, at 2 in the morning. I have a 'pontmint tomorrow morning. So I really gotta floss and try and sleep. Not that I am tired, per se. I might update again, for all I know. Aren't I prolific.

    posted by M@ at 11:42 PM   0 comments links to this post


    I bet Barbara Ehrenreich has one of these, and Amy Richards has two

    I don't know how many of you have followed the "reduction" editorial in the NYT that Amy Richards wrote about how she arrived at her decision to abort two of her three fetuses so she wouldn't have to change her lifestyle(M@ note to K--part of the lifestyle that was her worst nightmare was {gasp} shopping at Costco for giant jars of mayonnaise), but I have. Now, I am no staunch theocrat (quite the opposite) and I believe reasonable people can disagree about abortion and when life begins. I am Pro-Life (I am against killing babies; that seems to be a rational place to stake out my position from) but I don't belong to any organizations and I don't support bombing abortion clinics. Still...after reading her stupid piece here and Barbara Ehrenreich's stupid piece chiding women for not "owning up" to having one (presumably no one has abortions to keep anyone from finding out they are/were pregnant) I came across this link. Take a look and then...just let it sink in.

    I don't know which is worse: That they're proud to have these in stock or that they think YOU should be proud to have had one.

    posted by M@ at 3:28 PM   0 comments links to this post


    Wha Hoppeen?

    Did someone censor the last entry? It seems to have disappeared. It wasn't mine so it is ok to demand satisfaction for journalistic freedom from the fascist overlords that would seek to silence us. I hereby formally lodge protest against this unconscionable action by whomever it was perpetrated!!

    I have 'net service back again...and phew because it is Monday and the Dem convention is on. There must be enough digital bits I have to read to stretch from here to seattle. And bits are tiny. I don't want to make this a completely political blog of course, but I can't help but say: If you're a Democrat or a Liberal...PLEASE vote for Nader. Heheh.

    I finished Survivor last night, thanks to the inability to sign online mostly. I havent read that much dead tree material in one sitting in some time. Its a pretty good book. I liked it better than Lullaby, which quite a few claim is Chuck's best. As always, the premise has that interesting plausibility of characters mixed with the implausibility of some of the circumstance. The Palahniuk "gimmicks" are in there (I don't use that word disparagingly; I enjoy the idiosyncratic quirkiness of a lot of his writing technique. At times though, I think "sheesh, I get it. Lay off the running word-gags.) and they add to the mix well. Some people say he is a one trick pony that does a really good trick. I disagree, somewhat. Granted, there is that distinct flavor that all his books have had, and the familiar themes of a hopeless and somewhat suicidal victim of tragicomic circumstance. There is certainly a "sameness" to all the books I have read so far. But then again, the same can be said for Vonnegut. Or....O. Henry, for pete's sake. There is also, however, a distinct "original and unique" feel to all his books. I take exception to someone who expects him to reinvent writing every time he takes up a pen. I think he offers more or less the same lens to look through for each book, sure. But the lens is pointed each time at something marvelously different from not only his other works, but from the works of others. I really don't see how *any* writer can avoid being formulaic to some degree. The thing that grabs me is the variables in the formula, not the formula itself.

    As with most good books I read i am still processing exactly what it said to me without making any definite conclusions just yet. I have the story in my head now, and I enjoyed it on that superficial level. Now I am spending my (copious) time in the shower just letting it bounce around my head, thinking about what he was trying to say other than what he had the characters say. This is the fun part. I have a few opinions about it but they are half-formed and probably wrong. Clearly death and religion and determinism versus free will are among the main themes. The subjects I have figured out, but exactly what the message about them was I am still on the fence about.

    I recommend it to anyone who can get past the "shock" stuff, anyway. I don't expect you to become a member of his fancult...er club. I do think you'll enjoy it, if you aren't already a fan. I should probably send it to you, Kim. I think you'd like it.

    Alright that is enough for now. I might bury this entry with some links I come across and BlogThis, but don't let the political stuff fool you: I'm well rounded, dammit!

    posted by M@ at 1:55 PM   0 comments links to this post


    Friday, July 23, 2004

    funny bit from Opinion Journal

    This cracked me up and I hope one day I get lots of email like this from readers:

    Hawking: Who's Talking?
    Yesterday's item on physicist Stephen Hawking's revised views on black holes makes reader Charles Austin suspicious:

    I don't know whether Stephen Hawking lied or not with respect to black holes, but the timing of his statement is very suspicious coming as it did just before the Democratic Convention next week. Clearly Mr. Hawking has flip-flopped on the critical issue of the permanence of black holes. Why is he now implying that matter can escape from beyond the event horizon via some quantum nuance? Who benefits from this sudden July Surprise in what he calls "astrophysical science"? What did Mr. Hawking know and when did he know it?

    OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today

    posted by M@ at 2:59 PM   1 comments links to this post


    Someone Run Me Over, Please

    It looks like materialism conquers all. New treatment for coma emerges:

    Corvette promised to son in coma - (United Press International)

    posted by M@ at 11:15 AM   0 comments links to this post


    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    Sushi's Equal and Opposite Reaction

    WFTV.com - News - 30-Pound Barracuda Jumps On Fishing Boat, Bites Man

    posted by M@ at 9:51 PM   0 comments links to this post


    books: my luxury, my vice

    I went to Border's today (in the 3 dimensional store) and looked around for a few hours. I just can't get enough. The people watching, the book perusing, its just grand. And I had time to waste so I did more of the idle looking around than normal. Here are some thoughts...

    You hear a lot about liberal media bias these days, and I'm here to tell you it extends to the bookstore. The new political books shelf up front was coated in infectious hate for Bush, a bunch of election year polemics whose covers made my stomach turn. If I had to choose one liberal to punch square in the face I would be hard pressed to choose but it is likely I saw the eventual target face on a book cover today. But I digress. I also noted that Borders stocks just about the complete catalog of Noam Chomsky (far on the left) and exactly one copy of one *fiction* book by William F. Buckley, Jr (his non-fiction is probably to the right of you, dear reader. and he is likely more prolific than even the verbose Chomsky) to be found. He even has a new book out, and unless it was sold out I didn't see it. harumph.

    I did see one Young Punk flipping through a copy of Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man while his Toady Friend mashed on the "title sleuth" computer catalog keyboard, looking for something subversive but still fun no doubt. So that was encouraging, considering the bunch of books he plucked it from. I suppose it *was* the nonconformist choice in the bunch.

    I almost bought Eats, Shoots, and Leaves as well but I have to save that for another day. I love the title and it features one of the things that grates on me even worse than the content of Reader's Digest: Punctuation. Any self-respecting chatter has dealt with the people who use 'there' for 'they're' and probably agrees with me that those people ought to be shot. The slack punctuators, not the english nazis.

    So, I finally ended up with just one book. I went with Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. You've read this, haven't you Kim? I will be giving my thoughts on it in future posts I am certain. I am looking forward to another original take on people and their complete lack of dignity in the face of life's most gruesome ironies and cruel twists.

    I will now go back and interact with the world, so that I may bring you digital hermits more news from above ground. See you soon.

    posted by M@ at 7:48 PM   3 comments links to this post



    and like the book says, "we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
    There are stories of coincidence and chance; of intersections and strange things told, and which is which and nobody knows; and we generally say, "Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it." 

    and it is the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just, Something That Happened. This cannot be--One of those things . . .. This, please, cannot be that.

    And for what I would like to say, I can't. This was not just a Matter Of Chance. Ohhh. These strange things happen all the time.


    posted by M@ at 12:03 AM   0 comments links to this post


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